Sea Shepherd’s flagship, the SSS Steve Irwin. Photo: Sea Shepherd

The notorious Sea Shepherd Conservation Society kicked off its 2012-2013 anti-whaling campaign this week as the society’s flagship SSS Steve Irwin-as in Sea Shepherd Ship (SSS)-sailed out of Williamstown, Australia to start its “Operation Zero Tolerance” campaign and face off with the Japanese up North.

Now in its 9th season, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society promises that Operation Zero Tolerance will be society’s best campaign yet with a strong arsenal that includes a secret new vessel, new celebrities, and even an international crime drama thrown in the mix.

“The plan is for our fleet to meet the whaling fleet in the North Pacific off Japan,” said Peter Hammarstedt, who commands Sea Shepherd’s SSS Bob Barker, one of four ships in the SS fleet. “We are planning to take the battle pretty much up to Japan itself.”

Sounds exciting. Hammarstedt continues setting the stage with a teaser for the Sea Shepherd’s secret new ship, the Sam:

“We are keeping the location and identity of our new vessel, the SSS Sam Simon, a secret in the hope that the first time the whalers see the Sam, is when she comes into view on the slipway of the factory processing ship, the Nisshin Maru, effectively shutting down their illegal whaling operations,” Hammarstedt added.

Pamela Anderson on the SSS Brigitte Bardot
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The last ship in SS fleet is the SSS Brigitte Bardot, a “fast scout vessel” currently docked in Marina del Rey, California on its maiden voyage to the U.S. mainland.  The SSS Brigitte Bardot’s official send-off featured a guest visit from celebrity animal rights activist and actress, Pamela Anderson, who donned a Sea Shepherd wetsuit, rode a jet ski, and hugged an activist dressed as a shark during the launch ceremony.

Noticeably absent from the group is “Captain” Paul Watson who has been in hiding since July after forfeiting bail in Germany where he faced possible extradition to Costa Rica on several charges stemming from an altercation with poachers and the Guatemalan Navy during an anti-shark finning campaign.

Despite his international status, however, Hammarstedt assured that Watson would show once the cameras start rolling the campaign begins.

“It is expected Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson will appear in command of one of the vessels when the action begins,” he added.

But no matter what happens with Watson, Sea Shepherd promises that this season will be the best one yet.

“This is our strongest fleet to date, with four ships and more than 100 international crew representing 23 nations to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” said Sea Shepherd’s Australian Director, Jeff Hansen. “Operation Zero Tolerance will be Sea Shepherd’s best-equipped and most effective campaign to date.”

“We are going to try and intercept them as quickly as possible, and try to make this the first year they get zero kills,” Hansen added.

Stay tuned…

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  • http://gcaptain.com Capt Geest

    Whaling is wrong and Japan, Norway, Iceland etc should be taken to task for doing it, but I would not and will not shed so much as a tear if I found out tomorrow that the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force found a way to “self-protect” its mariners with their own “zero-tolerance” policy.

  • SeaSick

    Publicity whores, all of them.

  • Fish Protector

    whilst i agree with the ideals the total incompetence of the Sea Shepard crews does nothing but make professional seafarers cringe as with some real thought and competence they could achieve as much if not more without the often life threatening stupid risks.

  • Martin

    It always makes me laugh how people here hate Sea Shepherd. lol No they’re not professionals lile ALL of you guys but they are actually doing something they believe in and it happens to be on the sea.

    They also have ops in the African desert to protect seals.

    The Professionals whalers are way more dangerous btw… The moves they made. They had deaths also, fire, etc.

  • rusty

    i feel u all should be ashamed of yourself.calling the sea shepherd pirates they are doing a very noble and brave deed by protecting whales who r kileed in thousands by the jap whalers. i for one plan to join them and keep fighting whaers as long as i can

    GO ON SS U GUYS ROCK

  • rusty

    rogue pirates it seems why u guys can criticize the ss only when u guys have the guts to do something as brave as them

    why do we need to kill whales? these gentle giants do no harm
    seriously i urge people to support and donate towards thw worthy cause of the sea shepherds

  • rik

    Sea Shepherds are “brave soldiers” trying to save the whales.Killing the whales will destroy the ecological balance of the sea thus destroying the EARTH.

  • AnonE Mous

    Some folks here are not into protecting our precious resources but instead want to turn this into a fight when it comes to piracy. These people you call fools are braver than you or I to go down to Antarctica, where the weather is miserable as hell, risk their lives to save these creatures from extinction. One must remember, what we do to the Earth and it’s inhabitants, we do to ourselves. So yeah I agree with what these people are doing. They are saving an important species that would otherwise be extinct by now if no intervention had been taken.

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